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Old 04-13-2005, 02:19 PM   #1
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Tank stand height debate

I recently purchased a 72gl Bow Front tank, and am building the stand myself. While I have satisfactorily refined the structural design, my wife and I disagree on the height of the stand deck.

For some background, we have 3 small children, 3mo, 30 mo, and 6 years. The tank is 48.5x18x22 at its widest points(inches). The tank stand design is based largely on the same design the professional tank stands use (as seen in my LFS)

The greatest concern is tip capability. I'm curious how stable others feel about the stability of their tanks, especially bow fronts. The standard deck height seems to be 30-32" for a professionally made tank. Our current 30gl tank sits on an old TV stand at 19" off the floor.

I argue that 19" is far to short, and that 28-32" would be acceptable. My wife however feels that for safety, we shouldn't put it any higher than about 24".

- Wouldn't the bowed front of the tank act as a bit of a tripod to stabilize it?

- How does the professional tank stands feel with respect to tipping, while its got nearly a half ton of weight all tolled, it won't be THAT easy to tip, however its inherently top heavy.

- Is this a concern any of you consider with either DIY or Professional tank stands?


Just looking for some experience/opinion to base our decisions from.

Thanks in advance, you all have been a great help already, hoping I can get some more good advice.
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Old 04-13-2005, 02:36 PM   #2
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We are getting a tank that is very tall, My husband is a bit concerned about tippage. A tank with water in it is VERY heavy and if its level, it would take a super kid to push it over. My husband was saying we could put bolts into the wall and connect those to the tank with piano wire or something. I don't think that would look very good, but it would keep the stand from tipping.
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Old 04-13-2005, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meredith
My husband was saying we could put bolts into the wall and connect those to the tank with piano wire or something. I don't think that would look very good, but it would keep the stand from tipping.
Thats a consideration we're definately taking into account. However using a HOB filter, or even canister options, its hard not to have to leave at least a little space behind the tank, and that leaves space where an anchor like that would still be seen.

While not the most appealing option, it is one nonetheless. I'm curious how things work out for you once filled. Ours, being FW should be 800 lbs with just tank/water... and yes, thats VERY topheavy!
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Old 04-13-2005, 02:54 PM   #4
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By the time you add the weight of the water and the substrate, etc that tank is going to be stable no mater how high off the ground it is. If its 2' or 4' its not gonna move even if an adult bumps into it. A small tank on a tv stand does not sound like a very stable enviorment to begin with. The larger tank will easily reach 700+lbs on the stand so a small child of even 50-75lbs could run full tilt into the stand and the tank water might ripple. Thats about all thats gonna happen.

The empty 72gal will rock quite easly onthe stand but thats because its not laoded with nearly a half ton of water and rock. As you fill it you will find it gets much more sturdy. Be sure its nice and level and on a firm surface. if your putting this on a carpted area I would cut a section of 1/2" plywood that is the exact footprint of the stand and set this on the carpet and then the stand on the plywood.
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by fishfreek
By the time you add the weight of the water and the substrate, etc that tank is going to be stable no mater how high off the ground it is. If its 2' or 4' its not gonna move even if an adult bumps into it. A small tank on a tv stand does not sound like a very stable enviorment to begin with. The larger tank will easily reach 700+lbs on the stand so a small child of even 50-75lbs could run full tilt into the stand and the tank water might ripple. Thats about all thats gonna happen.

The empty 72gal will rock quite easly onthe stand but thats because its not laoded with nearly a half ton of water and rock. As you fill it you will find it gets much more sturdy. Be sure its nice and level and on a firm surface. if your putting this on a carpted area I would cut a section of 1/2" plywood that is the exact footprint of the stand and set this on the carpet and then the stand on the plywood.
1 - I concur, with the weight of the water in the tank, it should firm it down pretty well. IMHO the bow will act as a tripod, so it should be even more stable than a standard rectangular tank. However, my wife, prior to being married to me recalls an ~85gl Hex tank which tipped in their house. She recalls how easily it rocked. I personally chalk that up to the cylindrical nature of the hex tank, versus the low/wide nature of our 72gl bow. Granted its only 13" wide at the sides, 18 at the center... I don't think it will budge once firmly planted on the floor.

2 - The current 30gl/tv stand combo was inherited from a family member. Its not a cheesy TV stand thankfully, its as long as the tank and about 6 inches wider, leaving a nice low and flat surface for it to sit on. We didn't realize it was a TV stand until a couple months after we filled the tank, simply by the corners and shapes, and the wire holes in the back. If it was designed for an aquarium, I'd be suprised. But honestly, it is a very solid stand for the tank we have on it.
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Old 04-13-2005, 06:46 PM   #6
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I have built all my stands 25 inches tall and they all support the tanks wonredfully.(Even the 180 gallon
) My two kids(5-8 ) have yet to tip one over...
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:22 PM   #7
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Its very hard to tip a tank, you'de be more likely to shatter a tank than tip it. Water weighs about 8.3lbs to the gallon, so your at 597 lbs with just water. Then take into account the gravel. Forget it, it's not going anywhere. If your building your own tank stand then you have the option of building it to the height that is comfortable for you to work on the tank. I happen to be quite tall, but my 90 gallon and the tank stand I bought sometimes made it difficult to reach inside the tank. No matter what reasonable height you go with it will look fine.

I was eye balling a new tank stand for my 90gal, it's 31" high , so maybe it will give you an idea for height. http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...;pcid1=;pcid2=


BTW TV stands have to support the weight of a TV, those things can weigh a ton. My 36" sony was very heavy, we needed two people to lift it and place it into the stand.
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:59 PM   #8
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When I first started in the hobby, I couldn;t imagine how a stand that is basically hollow could hold so many pounds and be stable. I then realized that all the weight of the tank is being spread out over the entire surface of the stand. I was also concerned at that time that someone may trip on something, fall and have the tank come crashing down to the floor.

I then read about weight distribution (I'm not an engineer by any means) and learned that something of considerably more mass would have to disturb it for it to actually tip over. It is more likely for the glass to stress first.
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:58 PM   #9
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As far as height I have stands that ar the normal height of 28-32" and I find that puts the tank at a level below most folks standing view height. You end up squatting down or bending over to look close. I have a DIY stand thats about 38" tall and the resulting height of the tank is right at most folks visual range. I do have to get a step stool to do most work in the tank but I like the vewing height better of the taller one. Folks can stand there and not be uncomfortable looking at the tank.
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:53 AM   #10
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My ideal tank stand height is based on cleaning the tank. I would want it tall enough that I don't need to bend over to clean it, but just short enough to reach my armpit over it.

I am a student in Mechanical Engineering and was kind of bored. To tip the tank (on a stand 32in high) would require well over 200lbs pushing from the back of the aquarium (which is usually against a wall). Unless your child puts a lever behind the aquarium and invites a friend over to help push - your tank will never tip. So don't let tipping stop you.
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Old 04-14-2005, 03:15 PM   #11
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So many excellent points made.... Thank you all...

I think the strongest point I've tried to make with my better half is simply viewing height. She contends that the higher it goes, the more topheavy/tipsy it will become. Especially after having read the opinions here, I think so long as it doesn't stretch farther than 35-40", I doubt the topheaviness will come into play.

I'd love to find some reading on the net if anyone has a link handy, regarding the weight distribution. hashbaz, anything you could send me on the topic would be great, preferably anything that wouldn't require another ME to understand (grin).

Nonetheless, the tank stand will probably end up at either 24" (which my wife wants) or 28" (which is what I want. That height allows me to use 1 sheet of 3/4" Oak plywood (at an insane price of $42/sheet) and enough left over to base a shelf or two inside. Any higher than 28" and I'd end up needing another sheet. I'd like to put it up at 34"-36", maybe in time, once this one proves to be plenty stable.

Anywho, thank you all for the great responses. And if anyone with the same tank, 72gl bow front, has any opinion to give, I'd be very appreciative.... It'd make a strong argument to my better half if i had a specific example/experience to tell her about.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:52 PM   #12
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You could split the difference, 26". The other alternative is just lie and say its 24" when its 28" .
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Old 04-15-2005, 08:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cougaran
You could split the difference, 26". The other alternative is just lie and say its 24" when its 28" .
I was seriously contemplating using 6x6 to create a flat and firm base for the stand to sit on.... not to mention it would add 6" to the height and bring it up where *I* want it (grin)


Nonetheless, with all of the responses here, I was successfully able to get the freedom to bring the height up where I want it. I am going to mess around with some testing though before I fill it, to see how tipsy it feels prior to and after filling. Really to get a feel for it, and post my findings back here. I'm sure there are others who are concerned, especially since I haven't received many responses from others with the same size/type tank.
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:03 AM   #14
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Its going to feel very tipsy when its empty and half full. As you get past the half full mark the stability will increase greatly. When its done a child could hang from the front of the tank and it wont tip.

Your wifes bad fortune with the hex tank as a child was due to to the hex naturally being top heavy since hex tanks are always taller than they are wide causing alot of weight to be on a small foot print area on the floor.
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Old 04-15-2005, 01:04 PM   #15
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Its going to feel very tipsy when its empty and half full. As you get past the half full mark the stability will increase greatly. When its done a child could hang from the front of the tank and it wont tip.
I'd like to see that... from a humor standpoint, not that I'm doubting... Granted, I don't want my kids to see that and think its ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishfreek
Your wifes bad fortune with the hex tank as a child was due to to the hex naturally being top heavy since hex tanks are always taller than they are wide causing alot of weight to be on a small foot print area on the floor.
Well, after I posted this question, and talked to her about some of the responses, some more of the story came out. The tank was pretty stable overall, however the flooring (not the stand height) was a problem. It was placed near the wall where joists are commonly stronger (being load bearing). The stand then stretched to some apparently weaker joists and cause a bit of an off-balance situation. Hence with the right circumstances, it became exponentially easier to tip the tank.

Anywho, I presume you are very correct fishfreek, hex's naturally seem to be tall cylinders, whereas conventional and bowfront seem to be low/wide boxes...

Anyhow, trying to get ahold of a family friend that can get us an employee discount at lowes. (smile) I intend to take plenty of pictures along the way and post in the DIY forum.

Happy Friday !!!!!
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Old 04-15-2005, 10:52 PM   #16
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I have a conventional 70 gal & built the stand myself. My stand is 3" wider than the tank (at 22" - to accomodate overflow, etc). This stand is 32" high.

The empty stand on its own is quite difficult to tip (I had my kids sitting on the edges with no problems). Even with an empty tank the whole thing is stable. Once filled with water, nothing can move it .... and I have rambunctious 10 & 12 year olds .... the 10 year old HAD tried hanging onto the tank while "playing" in the water with the fish ......

I think as long as the tank/stand is place absolutely level, & the floor can support the weight without flexing, risk of tipping is remote.
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:45 PM   #17
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i have a 72 bow front and am using the cabinet stand that i bought from my lfs...the tank is in the living room, the center of attention of the house...my 3 dogs run by it all the time and the tank never moves...i also have a 4 month old daughter who is starting to crawl and have had no problems
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